This post is written especially for “ordinary people” who want to do something to help fight human trafficking but don’t know what. The key here is that you are willing, because this problem is so massive that the only way that the world can overcome it is for millions of “ordinary” people like you to find their place in the movement. If you need help finding what that place might be , keep reading. When you’re done, you’ll be full of ideas and ready to get started. (And if you're wondering why a speech coach is writing a blog post about human trafficking, you can read the backstory here.)It’s quite possible that you’ve seen some kind of sad ad announcing that over 40 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking. You realize that’s a lot of people, although 40 million is pretty dang hard to visualize, and you imagine that being a slave of any kind has got to be miserable. You feel bad about this statistic, and you wonder for a moment what you can do, but you're pretty sure you don’t have any kind of special anti-trafficking skills (whatever those are). Besides, how can you help 40 million people? The whole thing leaves you with a vague feeling of unease, and even worse, now you've got that grim photo of those little boys carrying bricks stuck in your head.
The problem with global problems like human trafficking is that they are overwhelming. But let’s say for a moment that you have a friend who is living in Brazil, and he tells you about Yasmin, a woman who started an organization that rescues kids who are being forced to beg on the street. Your friend starts volunteering with Yasmin, and he posts on Facebook, asking for people to donate money. You give $50.00. It doesn’t seem like a lot in the face of 40 million people. But your friend says that Yasmin cried when she got that $50, because she’d run out of money to buy groceries for the kids she was taking care of.
You’re kind of amazed. You just did something to help keep those kids off the street and away from traffickers. You’re suddenly thankful for all the food in your refrigerator. You’re thankful for being thankful, and you start looking for other ways you can help.
Donating money to anti-trafficking organizations is just one way to fight trafficking. There are actually lots of ways, and I’m excited to share six others with you today.
1. Use an anti-trafficking app
Yep, there’s an app for everything.
This is a super easy to use app that crowd sources hotel room photos. Simply download the app, and next time you’re traveling, take pictures of your hotel room and provide the name of the hotel and city where it’s located. These images will be stored in a database and then used to identify specific hotel rooms where sex trafficking victims have been photographed as part of online advertisements. The end goal is to reduce sex trafficking through faster identification of the location of both victims and criminals.
With this app you can report suspicious activity that might be an indication of trafficking. It works internationally, and provides a way for you to share what you’ve seen, with both text, photos and video, in a safe and anonymous manner.
After taking a survey about the items you own and consume, you’ll be told how many slaves are working for you. If you’re thinking to yourself, “But I didn’t hire any slaves!” you’re starting to get the point. Their work is hidden, but that doesn’t mean they’re not working for you via the products they produce. Going forward, they'll help you learn what you can do to change the situation.
2. Make a Purchase That Supports Trafficking Survivors
Rethreadedis a organization based in Jacksonville, Florida, whose mission is to employ and support survivors of sex trafficking. They carry items such as scarves, jewelry and household items. Locally made products come from upcycled materials, and all products provide employment for women seeking to stay out of sex trafficking.
Sudara sells beautiful, comfortable loungewear. Sales help create jobs and training “for women in India who are at high risk or survivors of sex trafficking.”
Purpose Jewelry helps woman across the globe to break free of human trafficking by providing jewelry making skills, along with health care, education, etc. They offer a large selection of necklaces, earrings and rings in a wide variety of both classic and contemporary designs.
3. Participate in or Host an Anti-Trafficking Event
Here are just a few examples:
In this event, the ubiquitous 30 day challenge takes onhuman trafficking. Participants pledge to wear a dress or tie every day for the month of December and fundraise for the cause at the same time. It’s a great way to raise both money and awareness.
The Red Sand Project is a creative way to get your community interested and active. Here’s how the organization describes their work: “Red Sand Project is a participatory artwork that uses sidewalk interventions, earthwork installations and convenings to create opportunities for people to question, connect and take action against vulnerabilities that can lead to human trafficking and exploitation.”
Did you know that traffickers specifically target homeless kids, preying on their vulnerability? Raise money to help kids stay off the street by sleeping outside for one night. You can create your own group of “sleepers”, or join one of many nationwide events.
4. Use your day job to get involved.
If you’re an accountant, for example, you could reach out to a statewide trafficking organization and offer to keep their books at a deeply discounted rate. Is it sexy? Maybe not. But guarantee, the people in charge of the organization will be hugely appreciative. If you’re a carpenter who builds furniture, contact a local organization that provides housing for people getting out of sex trafficking and ask if they could use some new shelving, or perhaps bunk beds. You could solicit donations for the materials, and if possible, provide your labor for free.
I recently read about two restaurant ownerswho have structured their business to help their employees recover from addiction. If you’re a business owner, take a page from their book, and let local anti-trafficking organizations know that you’re willing to hire victims of human trafficking who are no longer being trafficked but are looking for employment. Will doing so present some challenges you might not be used to? Maybe. But poverty, due to lack of employment, is a huge contributor to trafficking. Providing employment is a deal breaker.
5. Pay Attention to the Supply Chain Of Your Business
Take a look at this supply chain “transparency tool” developed by Made In a Free World. This software helps companies track the supply chain of their products and see where human trafficking might be occurring. Knowing that slaves are being used to create your products is going to hurt, but once you know, you can use your newfound knowledge to encourage your suppliers to stop using slaves, and/or make it clear that you are not willing to do business under these circumstances and choose other suppliers.
6. Talk About It
And finally, if you love public speaking and “come alive” in front of an audience, you can speak about human trafficking, educating people about what it looks like and encouraging them to find their place in the movement. You can give presentations at your place of worship, to local organizations like the Lion’s or Soroptimist Club, in universities, at private businesses, at corporate events and at conferences focused on related issues. And when you need some help putting together your presentation, send me a message. I know a good coach. :)
I hope this post has opened your eyes to the many ways that you can make a difference in the life of a person being trafficked. There are many more...just ask Google. :) And if you found this information helpful, hit one of the share buttons so your friends can get involved as well.
I’ll close with a saying that I love: